What is Acne? How to Get Rid of Pimples
First, we should know how a pimple develops. The overproduction of oil, or sebum, the buildup of bacteria, and inflammation of sebaceous glands play a part in pimple development. Acne outbreaks usually occur on the face, neck, chest, shoulders and back.
Since our skin is made of layers, to keep it from getting dry, sebaceous glands secrete oil. When these sebaceous glands get clogged, whiteheads or blackheads appear, not because of poor hygiene, as some may believe. The glands swell because they produce more oil.
What Causes Acne?
Acne may be the result of changes that occur during puberty, but there are 3 main causes:
- Hormones (Hormonal changes in women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts, or pregnancy-related hormonal changes may cause acne in women; also starting or stopping birth control pills can cause acne).
- Bacteria (P. acnes) We all have bacteria living on the surface of our skin and inside the follicles. It is usually not harmful, but if the follicle gets plugged, the bacteria grow rapidly inside turning the sebum into an irritating substance.
- Genetic susceptibility (family’s likelihood).
Acne Treatments: Which are the Best Options
There are many options on the market, from over the counter products, to prescription medication. Some lifestyle changes may be required to treat it. Although you should always visit your doctor first before considering any treatment regimen.
Acne: Useful Tips
After you visit your dermatologist, always remember the following useful tips:
- Manage your stress: stress may aggravate your acne, so remember to get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
- Eat a balanced diet: although research has shown that strict dietary changes may not help much, some people find that avoiding certain foods help reduce their acne, for example, soda, pizza, or chocolate.
Does diet affect your complexion? Although foods do not cause acne, this condition may be aggravated by certain foods: if you suspect a certain food is causing a breakout, avoid said food for a week or two, and see if it makes a difference.
- Try not to “pop pimples”. Picking at your acne can delay healing and may leave scars or dark spots. It may even lead to an infection.
- Wash your pillowcase twice a week.
- If you play sports, wash your face right away after you finish your routine. Pay special attention to the sport equipment that rubs against your skin.
- Some drugs are known to cause acne: anabolic steroids, lithium, barbiturates. Avoid these.
Acne-prone Skin: Natural Remedies
If you are not keen on over the counter products or typical skincare products in the market, there are many natural home remedies for acne-prone skin.
- Lime juice: it has antibacterial properties, vitamin C and citric acid. It also brightens your skin. With a cotton pad, apply directly on the pimple and leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water.
- Turmeric and honey: Honey wards off bacteria and turmeric is anti-inflammatory, it shrinks pimples. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 tablespoon of honey and mix them. Apply on your skin and leave it for 5 minutes. Then rinse the mix off with water.
- Rosewater: it has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the size of pimples. It soothes your skin, reduces redness and calms any irritation. Use it as a toner, with a spray bottle, sprintz it onto your skin morning and night.
- Almonds: it has vitamin E, which revitalises your skin. Blend some almonds and mix them with oranges, kiwis or strawberries (they contain citric acid which dries sebum). Use it as a mask. Leave it for 15 minutes and rinse it off.
- Tea tree oil: it is antibacterial and antimicrobial. Apply on your skin morning and night.
- Aloe vera gel: it is antibacterial and it reduces redness, it is astringent and lightens scars. Apply daily as a mask at night, and rinse it off in the morning. You may also hydrate your skin with natural moisturizers like argan oil, neem oil, shea butter, and tamanu oil.
- Ice: swollen pimples may bring down inflammation.
- Gentle scrubs: use natural exfoliators which are not abrasive, like quinoa
Acne Medication: When is it Necessary?
Sometimes over the counter products do not work, so your doctor will advise you on the best treatment. Severe acne may require medication prescribed by a dermatologist. Treatments usually last 2 or 3 months until you see a result because this is how long it takes the skin layers to sheed fully and recycle or “grow out”.
Typical medications include: topical retinoids, topical antimicrobials, like Benzoyl peroxide, or antibiotic therapy. Some women find that taking birth control pills help their acne. When conventional treatments fail, you may be prescribed Isotretinoin (originally Accutane). But this drug has some side effects: extreme lip-drying, frequent nosebleeds, pregnancy must be avoided.
Acne: Skin Hygiene and Prevention
When it comes to choosing the best washer, go for those that contain salicylic acid.
The following are the best skin care habits for acne-prone skin.
- Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Remember you should not “over-wash”. Over-washing or over-scrubbing may worsen your acne, causing irritation or dryness.
- Prefer milder soaps for sensitive skin instead of deodorant soaps, which may be too abrasive.
- As for makeup or sunscreen, go for the ones that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores”, instead of oil-based makeup.
- Always moisturize your skin after washing it.
Acne-prone skin: Natural scrubs
Apart from daily washing, you may try one of these natural face scrubs. You can try one of the following recipes a week.
Squish the fruits and mix the ingredients of these scrub “recipes”, apply the mix all over your face (you can use a brush), and massage in small circular movements for a few minutes. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with water.
- Kiwi (1), 2 teaspoons of sugar and a few drops of olive oil.
- Tomato (1) and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Freshly ground cinnamon powder (1 tablespoon) and 3 tablespoons of organic honey.
Lemon Juice Scrub
- Lemon juice, 1 egg white and 2 teaspoons sea salt. You can also use honey.
- Oatmeal (1 tablespoon), 1 tablespoon of organic honey, 1 tablespoon of thick yoghurt.
- Coffee (1 tablespoon of finely ground coffee beans, 1 tablespoon of fresh yoghurt.
- Cucumber (peeled and grated)
Now that you have gotten all these natural home made ideas, you can go and try one at a time to get rid of those annoying pimples.
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